The Tire Industry Association (TIA) recently hosted a webinar event with research firm GfK to discuss prominent tire trends.
The webinar was hosted on Nov. 16 and was moderated by Dave Zielasko, communications consultant for TIA.
Miguel Quiros, vice president of tire retail at GfK, covered all-weather and winter tires and electric vehicle distribution, while Matthew Wright, account director of tires at GfK, covered rim diameter trends.
However, before Quiros and Wright talked trends, they gave an overview on the tire industry.
Quiros described four different segments within the tire business: mature, growing, emerging and niche.
The mature segment is the “bread and butter” of every tire dealer's inventory, according to Quiros. It includes touring all-season tires; light truck tires, including highway-terrain (H/T) and all-terrain (A/T) tires; high-performance tires; and trailer tires.
“60% of the market share in the tire industry is made up of these tire sales, with an average retail price of $167,” said Quiros. “You have to have these tires in your store.”
The growing segment includes touring CUV tires; newer LT, H/T and A/T tires; and ultra-high-performance (UHP) tires.
“We are seeing more touring CUV tires with higher speed ratings and UHP tires with CUV fitments,” said Quiros.
“This segment is growing and becoming more popular. It makes up about 33% of the market, with an average retail price of $203.”
Quiros said this is how he recommends stocking inventory at tire dealerships: keeping 60% of inventory of mature tires and 30% of inventory of tires that are in the growing segment.
The emerging segment includes all-weather and electric vehicle (EV) tires that makeup 4.2% of the market, according to Quiros. The average retail price of these tires is around $222, he added.
The niche segment includes rugged-terrain (R/T), mud-terrain (M/T), cargo van and winter tires. This segment makes up 3.3% of the market with an average retail price of a tire in this segment is $334, said Quiros.
All-weather versus winter tires
Quiros explained all-weather tires as being a mix between all-season tires and winter tires.
“All-season can’t perform in the winter and winter tires can’t perform in the summer, so the industry created a middle ground with the all-weather tires,” said Quiros.
However, he continued by saying all-weather tires will not replace winter tires.
Quiros said that in the last full winter season, 1.5 million units of all-weather tires have been sold at an average retail price of $206.
He added that 1.9 million winter tires have been sold in the last winter season, year-to-date, at an average retail price of $187.
Quiros said that winter tires are more “broad-reaching,” which is why more winter tires than all-weathers were sold this year.
“Winter tires remain dominant throughout the season (and) all-weather tires (gained) strength, over time.”
Quiros noted that EV tires are growing in popularity. Year-to-date, there have been around 443,000 EV tire units sold, which is a 128% increase from 2020, he said.
“When gathering this data, we include EV tires that are original equipment-EV specific and if the manufacturer labeled the tire as an EV tire or and EV-compatible tire,” he says.
Quiros said EV tires “ramped up at a fast pace, with defined seasonality in the first half of the year.”
In 2023, he says the average price for an EV tire is $287, 21% higher than in 2022. He predicted that the retail price of EV tires will continue going up.
“Retail prices are driven by inflationary factors, but also from product mix and larger rim diameters.”
Wright talked about how rim diameters keep growing because of “CUV, SUV and truck production growth in the last few years.”
“Statistics from GfK that surveyed 20,000 new vehicle owners state that 54% of all new vehicle purchasers intend to buy a (sport or crossover) utility vehicle with their next vehicle purchase,” said Wright.
He noted that rims with diameters of 18 inches and above are increasing.
Wright noted that 17-inch and below rim-diameter sizes are down 8%, year-to-date, but these sizes still make up 58% of all tires sold in the replacement consumer channel.
“These fitments collect $148, on average, which is $37 less than the channel average selling price of $185,” he said.
“When we focus on 18 inches and above, this segment is up 9% versus last year and represents 42% of tires sold.”
Wright and Quiros recommend that dealers use data to monitor and adjust their product screens and “make the most out of your inventory.”
“Knowing this data and understanding which categories, sizes and brands are winning or losing to help identify pricing and assortments opportunities,” said Wright.